Tuesday, March 19, 2013

At peace with love and rock-and-roll

There are those we look up to and those from whom we look away.  Robert Moore was both.

Marc Beachamp, a year behind me at Shasta High School but who also followed the journalist's way, wrote a touching column this week about our mutual high school friend.  Some of our classmates gathered at a bar recently to raucously remember the leader of Uncle Robert's Zapp Juice Band.

When that wonderfully-name band played every Northern California high school dance in the late 1960s, Robert was one of the most popular kids in the school.  But he always had  time and conversation for the less-than-popular (me).  My last memory of him was of that big mop of hair topping one of the most angelic smiles I would ever know.

I wandered away from our hometown to pursue a career.  Robert wandered away into his own mind, eventually becoming a shopping-basked-pushing homeless guy on the streets of Redding, CA.

His was a trip I think most of us who grew up then contemplated.  An unfathomable war was sending classmates home in boxes.  The environment was spiraling down into Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.  And nuclear annihilation seemed all be inevitable.
Robert and the band gave us temporary respite from the world.  Not for Robert, however.  He turned to drugs, alcohol and delusions only he knew to get away from it all.

I never came home long enough to see Robert in his bushy-bearded latter stage.  But my friends tell my he was still full up upbeat energy -- until his mind would take a side road.

We all remembered Robert with a "there but the grace of God go I."  But you have to ask, who found the greatest peace?

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